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Press

Rokudenashiko, Ali Asgar, and Mohsen Namjoo. These are three artists, with three different disciplines, from three different countries, but all are in danger for their work. Copyright: ARC

More than 1,000 Attacks on Artists Worldwide in 2016 Highlight Growing Need for Resources and Support

October 10, 2017
NEW YORK—PEN America announced today the launch of the Artists at Risk Connection (ARC), an online collaboration of more than 500 global organizations that provide life-saving resources to artists worldwide who face oppression, persecution, arrest, and violence for their creative work.

Recent reported threats against New York’s Guggenheim Museum, the cancellation of a major planned work from the Louvre in Paris, and the withdrawal of a major film from Russian theatres offer stark reminders of the hotly contested terrain that artists occupy. There were more than a thousand attacks on artists in 2016, according to the Copenhagen-based Freemuse—more than double the prior year. While hundreds of organizations offer assistance to imperiled artists, ARC is a first-of-its-kind platform bringing all of these resources together in a single online hub, accessible in 104 languages.

“Artist face backlash when they push up against intellectual, social, and ideological boundaries,” said Suzanne Nossel, Executive Director of PEN America. “While global campaigns and U.N. resolutions have been mounted to protect journalists and human rights defenders, threats to artists have gotten limited international attention. The Artist at Risk Connection brings together an extraordinary network of global organizations committed to augmenting the assistance available to artists who risk their freedom and their lives in the name of creative expression.” 

Read the full press release



New press releases about artistic freedom

copyright Lutoff 2017

Cartoonist Ramón Esono Ebalé Freed from Prison in Equatorial Guinea

March 7, 2018
NAIROBI/ NEW YORK—An Equatorial Guinean court on March 7, 2018 released an artist imprisoned on dubious charges for nearly six months, 18 human rights groups including PEN America said today. The prosecution dropped all charges against Ramón Esono Ebalé, a cartoonist whose work is often critical of the government, at his February 27 trial after the police officer who had accused him of counterfeiting $1,800 of local currency admitted making the accusation based on orders from his superiors.

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Threat of Prison Sentence for Two Turkish Filmmakers Marks Another Blow to Free Expression in Turkey

February 8, 2018
NEW YORK — The arrest and trial of filmmakers Çayan Demirel and Ertuğrul Mavioğlu, accused of producing propaganda, is a violation of their free expression and artistic rights and yet another example of the Turkish government’s desire to subvert the judicial process, PEN America said in a statement.

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Fordham University Welcomes Writer at Risk in Residence Kanchana Ugbabe with PEN America and Artists at Risk Connection

November 21, 2017
NEW YORK—The Fordham Department of English has welcomed a new colleague, Kanchana Ugbabe of Nigeria, to serve in the newly created position of Writer at Risk in Residence for one year beginning this fall. The pilot position was made possible through the efforts of the Creative Writing program in partnership with Westbeth Artists Housing, ArtistSafety.netResidency Unlimited, PEN America, and ARC. The residency is the second effort of the New York City Safe Haven Prototype, a multi-organizational artist residency program designed to house, integrate, and nurture artists at risk.

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